Michele Pifferi is Professor of Legal History at the University of Ferrara, Law Department and currently Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford.

He has been visiting researcher at the Max-Planck-Institut for Legal History and Legal Theory in Frankfurt am Main (2002), Emil Noël Fellow at the Jean Monnet Center for International & Regional Economic Law and Justice, NYU (2009); Robbins Fellow at Berkeley UC - School of Law (2012); Academic visitor at the Oxford Centre for Criminology (2014 and 2016); Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the University of Hamburg (2015-2017) and Berlin (2021). He is member of the Editorial Board of the series Rechtsgeschichte und Rechtsgeschehen – Italien (LIT Verlag), of Quaderni fiorentini per la storia del pensiero giuridico moderno and of Rivista di storia del diritto italiano. He is also member of the Advisory Board of the Franz-von-Liszt-Institut für Internationales Strafrecht – Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.

He is the PI of a national research project (PRIN 2017) on Legal History and Mass Migration: Integration, Exclusion, and Criminalization of Migrants in the 19th and 20th Century.

His recent publications include: The Limits of Criminological Positivism. The Movement for Criminal Law Reform in the West, 1870-1940 (editor, Routledge, 2022)Reinventing Punishment. A Comparative History of Criminology and Penology in the 19th and 20th Century (OUP, 2016); “Criminology and the rise of authoritarian criminal law (1930s–1940s)”, in Stephen Skinner (ed.), Ideology and Criminal Law. Fascist, National Socialist and Authoritarian Regimes (Hart, 2019) 105–24; “The roots of Italian penal codification: Nation building and the claim for a peculiar identity in criminal law”, in Aniceto Masferrer (ed.), The Western Codification of Criminal Law. A Revision of the Myth of its Predominant French Influence (Springer, 2018) 163–92; Il controllo dello straniero. I ‘campi’ dall’Ottocento ad oggi (co-editor, Viella, 2017).

Research Interests

History of criminal law and criminology and history of migration law.